50 Awesome Things to Do in NYC This Summer
Is it just us or did summer totally sneak up out of nowhere this year? Regardless, we don’t have a minute to waste: There are ice-cream cones to eat, performances to see and many a patio to conquer (and by “conquer” we mean “drink rosé on”). Consult our list, then get out there—because it’ll be September before you know it.
1. Indulge your inner 9-year-old with summer-camp-inspired treats (like a s’mores sundae) at the Camp Cookie DŌ pop-up at Chefs Club Counter through Labor Day.
2. Sip with the sisterhood at Ruffian Wine & Food, which features all women winemakers on its by-the-glass menu for the entire month of June.
3. Or if you’re in the market for something stiff, grab a cocktail for a cause (at spots like Dante and Ophelia) during Negroni Week (through June 10).
4. There’s no wrong way to celebrate Rosé Day (June 9), but we’ll be commemorating the event with frosé ice pops on the Eataly rooftop.
5. Engage in the time-honored tradition of entering the lottery for the Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park over and over and hoping for the best. (We’re rooting for you: Othello runs through May 24, and Twelfth Night runs from July 17 to August 19.)
6. Feast on brisket, ribs and other smoked wonders from pit masters from across the country (plus local butchering duo extraordinaire Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest) at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, June 9 and 10.
7. Watch the Tonys (June 10) while chowing down on fries at the Hudson Hotel’s viewing party inside Umami Burger.
8. Expand your sake knowledge beyond “Um, goes with sushi?” at the Joy of Sake (June 15), a giant tasting event featuring local brewer Brooklyn Kura along with restaurants like Ivan Ramen and Sushi Nakazawa.
9. There’s truly nothing like the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. If you’ve never watched the zany annual procession of over-the-top costumes, pastel wigs and, yes, boobs, June 16 is your chance.
10. Keep an eye out for Sing for Hope’s 51 artist-designed pianos scattered around the city, through June 24. At the end of the summer, they’ll be donated to NYC public schools.
11. Head to Industry City for Thrillist’s Best Day of Your Life (June 16), which includes such extravagances as lobster ramen and a DIY ice-cream sundae bar.
12. Don your crispest sundress for a Summer Solstice Party (June 19) hosted by West Village charmer Rosemary’s in the garden across the street.
13. Join in on free musical performances and sing-alongs across the five boroughs during Make Music New York on June 21.
14. Celebrate and support the LGBTQ community—with lots of balloons and glitter—at the annual Pride March on June 24. Psst: The route has changed this year, beginning in the West Village and looping around before heading up to Flatiron.
16. Brie and burrata incite Super Bowl levels of fervor at the Cheesemonger Invitational, June 30.
17. Check out Domino Park, the new waterfront space on the former site of the Domino Sugar Factory (opens June 10).
18. Throw on your finest shade of magenta, blush or salmon for Pinknic (June 30 and July 1), the rosé-fueled festival featuring local restaurants, live music and (duh) lots of pink wine.
19. Calling all wannabe wizards: As of June 16, you can take a Harry Potter–themed “potions” class on the Upper West Side.
20. The northernmost borough gets a brand-new after-hours festival of food, music and art with the Bronx Night Market, launching June 30.
21. Swing by Tavern on the Green for a pop-up Bubble Garden—featuring all manner of sparkling wines, bubble tea and a bubble machine—now through July 4.
22. If pizza, cocktails and backyard games sound like the makings of a perfect summer night, head to Bocce USQ, the brand-new restaurant (and bocce court) in Union Square Park.
23. Staying in town for the Fourth of July? Catch Macy’s annual fireworks extravaganza from one of our fave rooftop bars.
24. ICYMI, a rosé mansion is opening on July 12. Plan accordingly.
25. Governors Island is getting its first outdoor-movie series. We’ll be teasing our hair for Desperately Seeking Susan on July 13.
26. Speaking of the island, you’ll actually be able to spend the night there thanks to Collective Retreats’ brand-new glamping tents.
27. Live your best summer life with oysters and spritzes at The Golden Hour, an outdoor pop-up styled to resemble the French Riviera (swoon) from the team behind Maison Premiere.
28. We all scream for the good stuff at Hester Street Fair’s Ice Cream Social (July 21). Including, hopefully, Leonardo DiCaprio, who showed up once. (A man after our own heart.)
29. Our favorite music/culture/food/everything else mash-up, OZY Fest, returns to Central Park on July 21 and 22, with a stacked roster including Michelle Wolf, Laverne Cox, Malcolm Gladwell and Martha Stewart.
30. Just when we were starting to wonder if our music-festival days were behind us, Panorama hits us with an insane lineup (Janet Jackson! The Weeknd! SZA! David Byrne!), July 27 to 29.
31. Bond with other free-verse devotees at the NYC Poetry Festival (July 28 and 29) and get inspired by headliners Nico Tortorella (yep, he’s a poet), Terrance Hayes, Danielle Pafunda and Ladan Osman.
32. Take a stroll through Madison Square Park to admire Diana Al-Hadid’s Delirious Matter, featuring ethereal female forms, on view through September 3.
33. Guys, there’s a Justin-Versus-Britney-themed skate night at Dreamland Roller Disco on July 13, and our teenage selves just died a little.
34. For those days when it’s too hot to function—let alone exercise—head to The Brrrn, a new cold-temperature fitness studio with classes set between 45 and 60 degrees. (Ahhh.)
35. Class up your usual date-night routine at Midsummer Night Swing (June 26 to July 14), the alfresco dance party where you can learn to tango and two-step to the sounds of live bands.
36. Feed your ’90s rom-com nostalgia and your Broadway addiction all at once with the much-anticipated Pretty Woman: The Musical (opens July 20).
37. We’re more than happy to make the trek to MetLife Stadium to see Bey and Jay perform together (August 2 and 3). Miraculously, tickets are still available.
38. Daily ice cream is a nonnegotiable part of our summer diet, but at least Pondicheri’s version is packed with superfood ingredients (like the Moringa Mint, made with avocado and coconut and rolled in pistachios).
39. The last time you saw a magic show might have been at a third-grade birthday party, but trust us, the enigmatic In & Of Itself (running through August 19) will blow your grown-up mind. (Neil Patrick Harris is the executive producer, if that tells you anything.)
40. Play in a giant inflatable water park, go zip-lining, join a salsa-dancing class or just enjoy a blissfully taxi-free Park Avenue during Summer Streets, the first three Saturdays in August.
41. Grab a picnic blanket for Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Movies with a View, which spotlights female directors this year. We’ll be staking out a spot for Bend It Like Beckham (August 2) and Love & Basketball (August 16).
42. Put some coins in your cultural savings account (without spending any money) during Lincoln Center Out of Doors (July 24 to August 12). We’re especially stoked for NPR’s Turning the Tables Live (August 1), which spotlights game-changing women in the music industry (like Carly Rae Jepsen and Jamila Woods).
43. Knock back a cold one with the badass women of breweries at Beers With(out) Beards (August 11), a tasting festival celebrating women in the beer industry.
44. Watch teams of rowers race across Meadow Lake at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, August 11 and 12.
45. Escape to the tropics (if only temporarily) at The Polynesian, a gorgeous new tiki bar from the folks behind the Grill, Santina and Dirty French.
46. We dare you not to tap your feet while listening to legendary and emerging musicians during the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival (August 23 to 26).
47. We’re trying not to fangirl too hard after seeing the lineup for Afropunk (August 25 and 26): Erykah Badu, Janelle Monáe, Tyler the Creator and Miguel, to name just a few.
48. Grab your flapper dress, feathered headband and parasol: It’s time for the Jazz Age Lawn Party (August 25 and 26).
49. Test out your sea legs (or just feast on lobster rolls) at one of the city’s floating bars and restaurants.
50. Oh no, is it Labor Day already? Spend one last day at Rockaway Beach—your sunburn will keep you warm well into October.